Canada has spelled out the cannabis consumption rules for soldiers and civilians working for the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF), according to the recently published Use of Cannabis By CAF Members directive.
According to the order, DAOD 9004-1, all soldiers will be banned from smoking or consuming cannabis starting eight hours before reporting for duty. Those serving on submarines or aircraft, piloting drones, conducting air traffic control or high-altitude parachute drops or deploying must abstain from cannabis use starting 28 days before. Soldiers handling weapons or explosives will be required to cease consumption of cannabis 24 hours prior.
These rules will also apply to civilian contractors for the CAF.
Canada‘s military suffered a tragic embarrassment centered around alcohol consumption in the Armed Forces during the 1993 “Somalia Affair.” During that incidence, Canadian soldiers who were likely heavily intoxicated were discovered to have beaten and killed a Somali teenager. Since then, Canada has maintained a stern stance against substance abuse in the military. DAOD 9004-1’s lengthy consideration of proper cannabis use was most likely informed by that stance.
Allowing some cannabis consumption is a notable precedent as other countries with significant military forces consider legalization.